Delhi Theatre Festival: When the Capital’s a stage

Catch plays such as Einstein, Nothing Like Lear, Dreamz-Seher, White Rabbit Red Rabbit and more at the three-day Delhi Theatre Festival.
Pankaj Kapur in a still from Dopehri.
Pankaj Kapur in a still from Dopehri.
Updated on Aug 25, 2019 06:23 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Delhi | By Naina Arora, New Delhi

Theatre and Delhi are woven together with an invisible thread, and the love for the art form resides in the heart of almost every Dilliwalah. So, when mavericks such as Naseeruddin Shah, Pankaj Kapur, and Supriya Pathak Kapur descend onto the stage in the city, it’s bound to be an event worthy of being marked on your calendar. Isn’t it?

With six productions and eight shows, expect drama, emotions of love, self-discovery and more at the third edition of the Delhi Theatre Festival. The three-day festival will be spread across three locations — Siri Fort Auditorium, Pearey Lal Bhawan and Orana Conventions, Gurugram, and will be bringing some of the most stellar acts on stage for the Delhi audiences.

In the play Einstein, catch Shah as he brings in the trials and tribulations that the genius scientist faced to prove his love for science. Written by Gabriel Emanuel and directed by the actor himself, it sees him don the geniuses role in the drama that continues to inspire millions across the globe, and is brought in a very personal way, or laugh, cry, and hop on to an emotional roller-coaster ride, in the play Nothing Like Lear directed by actor-director Rajat Kapoor, that adapts Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy, and performed by Vinay Pathak.

While actor Pankaj Kapur brings in elements of humour in the one-man act titled Dopehri, written and directed by him. The story set in Lucknow traces protagonist Amma Bi’s journey from loneliness to self-discovery in the large family house – Laal Haveli. Reality and dreams get intertwined, in another production titled Dreamz-Seher, starring Pankaj, Supriya Pathak among others, which traces the life of Prof. Sanjeev Mishra visits Kasauli for a long weekend and on his morning walk, encounters a very mysterious woman named Sehar.

Thrilled to be performing in the Capital, Kapoor, says, “I am delighted to be back with two of our productions ‘Dreamz Sehar’ and ‘Dopehri’ this year at Delhi Theatre Festival. Delhi audiences have always been kind to us and we look forward to performing for them.”

Nassim Soleimanpour’s play—White Rabbit, Red Rabbit— with no director, no rehearsals and no set, is an experience in itself and requires a different actor for each performance. A story of isolation and conflict, it has been previously performed in the past by comedian Mark Watson, Tom Basden, director Anurag Kashyap, actors Ali Fazal, and will be performed in Delhi by actor Sumeet Vyas.

Nervous and excited at the same time, Vyas, says, he wanted to experience it “as is”. “The good part is that it’s going to be impromptu and the scary part is that it’s going to be impromptu,” he laughs, adding, “The idea is that even if you have seen the play, you cannot perform it because you’ll know what is it about. I read about the people who performed and what they went through and they all had great things to say about it. Every actor who does it brings his own energy.”

“In theatre, it isn’t just the actor performing, it’s an energy we share between the actor and audience. And the Delhi audience has been very kind. Never had a bad show in Delhi, so, I am hoping this streak continues,” he adds. Actor Arif Zakaria, who will star in the play Gardish Mein Taare, with Sonali Kulkarni depicting the relationships between Guru Dutta and Geeta Dutt, seconds the opinion. “That way Delhi helps us as it’s exposed to so much theatre. Our best reactions have come through our shows in Delhi, he says.

Catch it live

What: Delhi Theatre Festival

Where: August 30(Dreamz-Sehar, Siri Fort Auditorium, 8pm), August 31(Dopehri (Siri Fort Auditorium, 2pm), Gardish Mein Taare(August 31, Siri Fort Auditorium, 8pm), Einstein(August 31, Orana Conventions, 7pm), White Rabbit Red Rabbit (August 31, Pearey Lal Bhawan, 8pm), September 1 (Einstein, Siri Fort Auditorium, 4.30, 8pm), September 1 (Nothing Like Lear, 7pm)

Nearest Metro Station: Green Park on Yellow Line, ITO on Violet Line, Rapid Metro Sector 55-56

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